Timely Tips For A Healthy And Productive Berry Patch

Winter annuals, such as chickweed, henbit, and purple deadnettle, pop up in fall and winter and can be a problem in berry plantings. (Photo credit: Gary Gao)
Winter annuals, such as chickweed, henbit, and purple deadnettle, pop up in fall and winter and can be a problem in berry plantings. (Photo credit: Gary Gao)

When this issue of the magazine reaches you, you might be enjoying the nice fall weather on a tractor in your berry patch or on a couch watching your favorite football team on TV. I received a few questions from fruit growers in Ohio about what they need to do in the berry patch in autumn to get ready for next year. I think my answer to these growers is something you may want to accomplish this fall — weed management, nuisance wildlife control, and fertilization — tasks that will make a difference next year.

At The Top Of Your List
Weed control should be quite high on that list. This year has been a year of weeds due to record rainfalls in many parts of the Midwest.. We all know that weeds compete for nutrients and water. They also can harbor insects and diseases. You will need to get rid of the weeds that are already present in your berry patch. Some of the post-emergent herbicides are Rely 280 (glufosinate-ammonium, Bayer CropScience), Poast 1.5EC (sethoxydim, BASF), and Roundup (glyphosate, Monsanto).

Winter annuals can present a serious problem. An application of a pre-emergent herbicide in fall could be a very beneficial practice to control winter annuals, such as chickweed, henbit, and purple deadnettle. Examples of pre-emergent herbicides are Casoron CS (dichlobenil, Arysta LifeScience), Chateau WDG (flumioxazin, Valent), or Sinbar 80WP (terbacil, Tessenderlo Kerley).

Another benefit of fall application of pre-emergent herbicide in fall is extended weed control in spring, since spring weather can be very unpredictable.

Since fruit types, age of plantings, and location of plantings all can play a role in determining which pre-emergent herbicide to use, growers are encouraged to check the spray guide in their state for the best choice. Growers in the Midwest should check the Midwest Small Fruit and Grape Spray Guide at is.gd/MidwestSprayGuide for recommended herbicides.

Kathy and Steve Kuflewski of Once in a Blue Moon Farm in Waynesville, OH, stand inside their netted blueberry field. (Photo credit: Gary Gao)
Kathy and Steve Kuflewski of Once in a Blue Moon Farm in Waynesville, OH, stand inside their netted blueberry field. (Photo credit: Gary Gao)

Controlling Pests
Nuisance wildlife control is another highly critical task that growers should complete in fall. I can devote 100 pages to nuisance wildlife control. Birds, deer, rabbits, and raccoons are near the top of the list. I only have enough room to address the problem with birds.

There are many possible methods of controlling birds. Air dancers, laser, noisemakers, and taste repellents can help somewhat. However, netting might be the only effective method I know of to control nuisance birds. The hungry birds can eat a lot of fruits. Kathy and Steve Kuflewski of Waynesville, OH, can definitely attest to the effectiveness of bird netting. “Without our bird netting, we wouldn’t have a crop, as proof of first year of fruit harvest when we only got three weeks of picking in before the robins and starlings ruined the field,” Steve Kuflewski says.

Thanks to netting, Kathy and Steve are able to extend their harvest season by at least five weeks.

Fall Fertilization Is Essential
Fertilization in fall can be a very beneficial thing to do in a berry patch. I assume you have done a soil test. If not, now is a good time to take soil samples. Phosphorus and potassium fertilizers can be applied in fall. Since phosphorus is needed for root growth, phosphorus is normally incorporated into planting beds prior to planting.
In an established planting, phosphorus can be either injected through drip irrigation in the form of phosphoric acid or applied as a banded application in the form of triple phosphate. Phosphoric acid injection is more efficient than banded application of triple superphosphate since phosphorus moves very slowly in soil profile.

If needed, check with your irrigation dealer about the proper ways to inject phosphoric acid through a drip system. Potassium is essential in translocation of sugars in plants. Banded application of potassium sulfate is one good way to deliver potassium to plants. Potassium hydroxide is highly soluble and can be injected through drip irrigation.

Nitrogen application in fall is not recommended since nitrogen can promote vegetative growth and increase winter injuries. Nitrogen is better applied in spring before new growth starts.

I hope I gave you some good pointers. Please let me know what you think..

Find Us On Facebook
We have new Facebook page for our super berry project. Please friend or like us at Facebook.com/OhioSuperBerries.

Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply to Gary Gao Cancel reply

2 comments on “Timely Tips For A Healthy And Productive Berry Patch

    1. Hi Roger,

      It is always good to hear from our readers! I assume that you were asking about organic fertilizers. There are quite a few organic fertilizers out there. Follow this link for a good list of organic fertilizers: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/gardennotes/234.html The website lists pros and cons of each organic fertilizer and its nutrient content (NPK).

      I would recommend a soil test for your berry patch. Call the soil testing lab first to see if they offer also organic recommendations. Quite a few labs do. It takes more time to generate a recommendation of organic fertilizers. Organic fertilizers can be quite good, but may take longer to work.

      Since I do not know which state you live in and do not have a soil test report from you, I will not make any specific organic fertilizer recommendations.

      Hope this helps. Happy fruit growing!

      Gary Gao

Berries Stories
Berries
October 24, 2017
First Organic Strawberry Varieties to be Developed
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire hope to develop first varieties specifically for organic production. Read More
cluster of Emerald blueberries in Florida
Berries
September 26, 2017
Florida Blueberry Growers Challenged to Maintain Momentum
After a nice rebound last season, resiliency is sure to be tested. Read More
Berries
September 26, 2017
Diversifying Berry Breeding, Public to Private
Both have advantages and should attract young people, especially with more so-called club varieties, as seen in apples. Read More
Picking fresh Florida blueberries
Berries
September 21, 2017
Ways Florida Blueberry Growers Can Elevate Their Message
Promotional efforts seek to harness power that drives the Sunshine State's ‘little blue dynamos.’ Read More
Bacterial wilt symptoms on blueberry leaves
Berries
September 20, 2017
Getting to the Bottom of Bacterial Wilt in Blueberries
Prolific plant pathogen now presenting a new challenge for Florida producers and researchers. Read More
Berries
September 19, 2017
UC Davis Strawberry Lawuit Settled
Former university breeders to return any crosses that used unpatented varieties and agree the school owns rights to them. Read More
Berries
September 12, 2017
Longtime American Fruit Grower Columnist Charlie O’Dell Dies
“The Ole Crow,” as he called himself, passed away unexpectedly at home in Virginia at the age of 82. Read More
Berries
September 12, 2017
How to Match Drip Irrigation to Improve Berry Water Management
Using root mass diameter to appropriately determine wetting pattern will help you improve growth rate and yields. Read More
Raspberry bush at Wish Farms in Florida
Berries
August 31, 2017
Wish Farms Boosts Product Portfolio With Raspberries
Newest commodity to help company reach year-round supply goal, and help fuel consumer-focused marketing campaign. Read More
Berries
August 29, 2017
$8.8 Million Awarded to Support Strawberry Innovation
USDA recognizes that soil diseases are Enemy No. 1 for California strawberry growers. Read More
Berries
August 27, 2017
Looking Beyond Soil pH in Berries
Acidic soil is a foundation for blueberry growing, however the plant needs more than high pH to grow large, firm fruit. Read More
Berries
August 22, 2017
Columnist Wins Prestigious Plant Breeder Award
John Clark, who writes a column for American Fruit Grower® and Western Fruit Grower® magazines, is honored with National Plant Breeders Association Impact Award. Read More
Berries
August 3, 2017
Tips to Control Rodents in Drip-Irrigated Strawberries
Rodents are a major concern for all strawberry growers, including those with drip irrigation systems. Pests like pocket gophers, moles, Read More
Berries
August 1, 2017
New York Berry Crops Field Day Slated
Cornell University and a Rensselaer County farm partner to host a free workshop for commercial berry growers. Read More
Berries
July 2, 2017
Southern Highbush Berries Have Turned the Blueberry World Upside-Down
Berry industry revolutionized thanks to the introduction of low-chill varieties. Read More
The Latest
Berries
November 11, 2017
2018 North American Raspberry and Blackb…
Featured speakers at the annual conference, slated for February in Ventura, CA, include Miles Reiter of Driscoll’s. Read More
Berries
October 26, 2017
Grower Sees Challenges, Opportunities in…
While sales are skyrocketing, organic berries bring a whole host of challenges to grow. Read More
Berries
October 24, 2017
How UV-C Irradiation Can Help Save Straw…
As the organic fruit market continues to gain traction with consumers, strawberry producers have struggled to find non-chemical disease-control solutions — until now. Read More
Berries
October 24, 2017
First Organic Strawberry Varieties to be…
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire hope to develop first varieties specifically for organic production. Read More
Berries
September 26, 2017
Florida Blueberry Growers Challenged to …
After a nice rebound last season, resiliency is sure to be tested. Read More
Berries
September 26, 2017
Diversifying Berry Breeding, Public to P…
Both have advantages and should attract young people, especially with more so-called club varieties, as seen in apples. Read More
Berries
September 21, 2017
Ways Florida Blueberry Growers Can Eleva…
Promotional efforts seek to harness power that drives the Sunshine State's ‘little blue dynamos.’ Read More
Berries
September 20, 2017
Getting to the Bottom of Bacterial Wilt …
Prolific plant pathogen now presenting a new challenge for Florida producers and researchers. Read More
Berries
September 19, 2017
UC Davis Strawberry Lawuit Settled
Former university breeders to return any crosses that used unpatented varieties and agree the school owns rights to them. Read More
Berries
September 12, 2017
Longtime American Fruit Grower Columnist…
“The Ole Crow,” as he called himself, passed away unexpectedly at home in Virginia at the age of 82. Read More
Berries
September 12, 2017
How to Match Drip Irrigation to Improve …
Using root mass diameter to appropriately determine wetting pattern will help you improve growth rate and yields. Read More
Berries
August 31, 2017
Wish Farms Boosts Product Portfolio With…
Newest commodity to help company reach year-round supply goal, and help fuel consumer-focused marketing campaign. Read More
Berries
August 29, 2017
$8.8 Million Awarded to Support Strawber…
USDA recognizes that soil diseases are Enemy No. 1 for California strawberry growers. Read More
Berries
August 27, 2017
Looking Beyond Soil pH in Berries
Acidic soil is a foundation for blueberry growing, however the plant needs more than high pH to grow large, firm fruit. Read More
Berries
August 22, 2017
Columnist Wins Prestigious Plant Breeder…
John Clark, who writes a column for American Fruit Grower® and Western Fruit Grower® magazines, is honored with National Plant Breeders Association Impact Award. Read More
Berries
August 3, 2017
Tips to Control Rodents in Drip-Irrigate…
Rodents are a major concern for all strawberry growers, including those with drip irrigation systems. Pests like pocket gophers, moles, Read More
Berries
August 1, 2017
New York Berry Crops Field Day Slated
Cornell University and a Rensselaer County farm partner to host a free workshop for commercial berry growers. Read More
Berries
July 2, 2017
Southern Highbush Berries Have Turned th…
Berry industry revolutionized thanks to the introduction of low-chill varieties. Read More